A visit to Shrewsbury is a journey through the past, from the contemporary world, to the Tudor era, medieval times and even as far back as the Romans at nearby Wroxeter, which in its day was Britain’s 4th largest settlement.
Here’s a guide to Shrewsbury’s architectural buildings, all close to the hotels in Shrewsbury and collectively telling the tale of Britain’s past.
When, in the year 1066, William the Conqueror’s Norman army defeated King Harold’s men near Hastings in one of the most important battles in British history, the invaders from Normandy successfully took control of England. They marched North and West and in the subsequent years built castles to cement their rule. These castles were held by wealthy Norman landowners, who were given sections of the country to rule over. One such man was Roger de Montgomery and it was Shrewsbury that was his land to watch over. In 1070 he commissioned Shrewsbury castle to be built from red sandstone, upon the strategic point where the River Severn loops back to almost meet itself. There was previously an Anglo-Saxon fortification on the site, but this was destroyed.
In 1083, Roger, now Earl of Shrewsbury, was persuaded to commission yet another historic monument. This time it was Shrewsbury Abbey. In 1138 the remains of St. Gwenfrewi (St. Winifred) were brought from Wales and entombed in Shrewsbury Abbey, drawing pilgrims for far and wide in the centuries that followed. The Abbey enjoyed a long and fruitful life until Henry VIII feared the power of the Monks and put an end to the Monasteries.
Later, in the 16th century, the town square, in the dead centre of Shrewsbury was turned from peat-bog to paved square with the aid of supports laid into the ground. During the same period, The Quarry – historically a place for crime and debauchery – was turned into a magnificent Regency garden, as it remains today.
From the hotels Shrewsbury town centre, you can walk this resplendent park ground, now host to the Shrewsbury flower show. Finish with the chequered black and white patchwork of Tudor houses.